Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Packaging Borneo as a Tourist Destination

Sarawak, Sabah and Brunei should together draw up a regional tourism development plan to market Borneo as a destination, said state Urban Development and Tourism Minister Datuk Wong Soon Koh.

He said the plan should focus on the distinctive and unique tourism attractions of the respective regions.

``Borneo and neighbouring Kalimantan have vast tourism potentials for development. You name it, we have it; and we have what (other countries) probably do not have,'' he added when opening the 4th International Borneo Tourism Conference at the Sarawak Tourism Complex here Wednesday.

Some 165 participants are taking part in the three-day event jointly organised by the Sarawak Tourism Board (STB) and Borneo Integrated Services.

Wong said tourism players in Borneo should establish links with each other to share their knowledge and expertise.

He said the state tourism industry had to be more creative to broaden its range of products so as to continue to attract visitors around the world.

``Sarawak's more than 30 national parks, nature reserves and wildlife sanctuaries are our crucial tourism attractions. We have to ensure sustainability in the management of nature-based tourism,” he added.

Wong said with 27 ethnic groups, the Land of the Hornbills had a rich culture which had to be preserved in the midst of the rapid pace of tourism development.

``We must preserve the originality and authenticity of our culture and our special traits for posterity,'' he added.

Earlier, STB's chief executive officer Gracie Geikie suggested Borneo be used as a brandname to package tourism products in Sabah, Sarawak and Brunei.

She said the conference would help tourism players in Borneo share findings and knowledge which were useful to further develop the regional tourism potentials.

Source : STAR
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